The crew at Norse in Harrogate had been resident in Baltzersens for almost three years, and in that time amassed accolades and awards (two AA rosettes, listings in the Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide amongst others) and rightly so. Their Scandi-fusion food offers up a unique slice of Nordic flavour, in North Yorkshire.
Set in the leafy area of Swan Road, Harrogate, Norse’s new location – successfully funded from a swift (in 100 hours!) and £50,000 target-exceeding Crowdfunding campaign earlier this year – is beautiful. A relaxed, but airy, feel is crafted, from the woods used for the furniture, to the living moss wall features, the warm lighting overhead and even the accoustics.
Head Chef Simon Jewitt, has carefully constructed a menu of small plates, and larger ‘mains’ with a focus on seasonal ingredients, and local where possible. A quick glance on their Instagram page gives you a hint of what’s to come, with the team sharing their foraged herbs and flowers, which feature alongside the diverse (gluten-free and vegetarian friendly) menu.
We were invited over to Norse on their opening weekend to sample the menu. Small plates impressed, which included a smokey, mustard glazed artichoke, alongside pumpkin seed purée – satisfyingly rich and followed by hasselback potatoes, smothered in Colliers Cheddar and broccoli, very much a comfort food dish. Satisfyingly savoury and spiced in the best possible way.
Lamb shoulder – served tender and juicy, mixed with oats and fennel and pleasingly pink from beetroot, beautifully layered with flavour, was a definite highlight.
The charred mackerel with chicory, pickled rhubarb and roe scraps seemed to bring the most nods of agreement from the diners at our table. My favourite, the duck breast and leg with fermented plum, hazelnut and salsify, came next. The salsify tender and well seasoned, the plum acidic and clean to cut through the moist duck leg.
We loved the ‘snacks’ served alongside the mains. Crisp thins of celeriac served with a smoked curd, was a total delight.
Dessert was wonderful. The skyr cheesecake, gin compressed strawberry, tonka meringue and strawberry sorbet, is as good as it sounds. Believe the hype! White shards of warming tonka meringue sat amongst tangy sorbet, with gin flavour seeping out the strawberries. A must-try.
Let’s just quickly talk about the drinks list. It’s really clear that Norse take their booze-offering seriously. The gin list stands 13 strong (with local favourite Masons going down well for me), plenty of good wines by the glass too, and the beer list – a nod to their Scandinavian influence with the presence of craft brewers Lervig (try the Lucky Jack pale); but also representing local brewers, with Bad Co (from up the road in Dishforth) serving up the fantastic Dazed and Confused Milk Stout, alongside the Wild Beer Co Millionaire Salted Caramel stout – which I highly recommend trying alongside the chocolate ganache dessert for total decadence!
We enjoyed Norse so much, that following week I popped in at lunchtime. The lunch menu is really reasonably priced, at 2 courses for £15 or 3 for £18; and the service is so swift and unobtrusive it’s easily done as a business lunch too. I’ll definitely be back.
Norse is open for lunch Wednesday to Saturday and dinner Tuesday to Saturday.